Types of bedding

Types of bedding available for the stabled horse.

Stable bedding will keep the horse warm and encourage him to lie down and take the weight off his legs and relax. 

It will minimise the risk of injury, preventing the horse from slipping when moving around and prevent the horse from slipping on the concrete floor whilst getting up on his feet.

The ammonia from the urine will be absorbed at the bottom of the bedding.

Bedding also encourages staling (urinating).

That's why I put bedding down when travelling my horses for long distances.

Many horses will not stale on the concrete due to the splashing.

What products are available?

There are many types of bedding available, all varying in price.

Straw bedding and wood shavings are traditional.   

I use wheat straw as it’s economical and is a comfortable bed, also less palatable.

So if you have greedy pony wheat straw would be the best type of straw for you.

Oat straw is good quality and bright yellow in colour.

The problem is most horses will stay up all night eating the bedding!

Wood shavings

This product is deal for horses that like to eat straw bedding.

Has little dust, so could be ideal for the horse that has a respiratory disease.

Wood chippings

It’s very absorbent and dust free.

Shredded paper

Another alternative that uses a mixture of shredded paper such as magazines, newspapers and any unwanted paper.

If you have a light grey horse there’s always a risk that the print could stain his coat.


Not the best of products in my opinion.

Comes shredded and dust free but the down side is, it can move around when the horse lies down or gets up.

Flax or Hemp

Excellent products, more expensive to buy than straw.

Some people prefer a cheaper option and purchase or receive for free, saw dust or wood shavings locally.

Always make sure the dust has been extracted and foreign bodies such as rough chunks of wood removed.

Dusty bedding can cause all sorts of respiratory problems to the horse.

What type should I use?

Bedding varies in price, so you need to do your maths as it can be quite costly every week.  

You need to know if it will be available all year round and will it be suitable for the horse?

If the horse has, a respiratory problem or allergy it will need dust free bedding and access to fresh air.  

You will also need to consider what sort is suitable for the stable.

If the stable has drains, you will need a product that will not block the drains.

The moisture needs to run away into the drain. 

It needs to be easy to dispose of and legal. (Council regulations)  

Some livery yards will only allow certain types of bedding,  as others are not suitable for the land or take longer to decompose.  

Horse matting

Rubber matting is quite expensive to buy but very cost effective and easy to assemble.

Some types can be used without bedding or may only need a small amount to absorb and encourage staling.  

It also reduces the time spent mucking out, and should only be laid on a smooth surface following the manufacturers’ guidelines. 

The rubber can also be used on walls and doors, to protect horses and keep in the warmth.

Scroll down from types of bedding for more horse care information.

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